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September 2016 : Thailand in Progress after 2 Years Coup

  • PM: Thailand in progress after 2 years coup
  • 187 Acts legislated in 2 years
  • Yingluck should accountable for 20% loss in rice pledging scheme
  • A 2017 Budget Bill effective
  • Courts ruling to seize former Education Ministrys premise
  • Revised draft Constitution incompatible to referendum result
  • Measures to help agriculture households
  • BMA tax collect over-target
  • Thailand to launch Zero-waste operation
  • A law to regulate direct marketing
  • Cabinet approved new City Planning Bill
  • Admiral Sukhumpol impeached-political rights banned
  • Courts to trial in absent of offenders
  • 7% VAT continues for 1 year
  • Security trials return to criminal court
  • Education Loan Act to amend for efficiency
  • NACC cleared Ratchabhat Park accusation
  • A feasibility study for Rattanakosin underground network
  • Graduates top among unemployed

    Thailand in progress after 2 years coup

    On 15 September, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha remarked his administration has accomplished several missions as promised when he took position two years ago. Economy is improving on the upward trend due to internal security and stability. Thailand risk assessment ranking was lifted from 58thin 2014 to 51thin 2016. Confrontations, political rift and fractions also decreased. Transparency and good governance rank sored from 54thin 2014 to 25thin 2016. Several measures such as Peace Talk, mental, social, economic and education promotions has been applied to solve southern unrest which declined the violence by 50 percent. Crimes on drugs decreased 50 percent and decades-long human trafficking and force labor problems were resolved as they became a national agenda. On 30thJuly 2016, the UN TIP Report lifted Thailand to the tier 2 Watch List.

    On corruption problems, in 2016, the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) ranks Thailand 76thamong 180 nations. This is a rise from 102thin 2012, the best in 6 years and the most transparency in 10 years.

    Thailand is progressing in the second phase of the planned Roadmap and set the next target, Thailand 4.0 towards:
    • Development of human resource by life-long education.
    • Development in health infrastructure.
    • Infrastructure development to promote domestic investment.
    • Development in logistic system and transportation to connect domestic and international.
    • Promote industry in S Curve groups (Robotics, aviation & Logistics, Biofuels & Biochemical, Digital and Medical Hub).
    • Agricultural reform by strengthen knowledge and technology. Change from upstream to innovative agriculture.
    • Create jobs and employment. Develop skill labor in line with domestic and neighboring countries demand.
    • Foster the underprivileged and low-income groups. Raise quality-of-life.
    • Administrative reform in all dimensions.

    187 Acts legislated in 2 years

    Deputy Prime Minister responsible on legislature Wissanu Krua-ngam revealed the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) has passed a total of 187 Bills within 2 years and another 27 are being read. For minor issues, the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) has exercised Section 44 of the Interim Constitution and solved 104 cases. However, there are a few important draft bills to be made or amended such as the special economic zone, the excise tax, the educational loan fund. These exclude another 59 bills required by the Constitution.

    He noted from 2008 to 2014, under unstable circumstances, only 120 bills were enacted in 4 administrations which was an average of 17 bills per year.

    Yingluck should accountable for 20% loss

    The ministrys Comptroller-Generals Department announced on behalf of the chairman of the Fact-Finding panel probing civil liability, the members unanimously resolved former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra should be held accountable for 20 percent, of a total lost 510 billion baht in the rice pledging scheme, from careless and negligence that caused significant financial damage. Her 20 percent responsibility is equivalent to 35 billion baht,

    The rice pledging scheme was implemented in two consecutive programs from 2012 to 2014 when Yingluck was in office and chaired the National Rice Policy Committee. She was repeatedly warned in written statement 13 times, by the anti-graft agency, the Office of the Auditor-General, the Finance Ministry and academics. In her capacity she could halt the implementation.

    The civil-liability case is separate from the criminal case that is still under consideration by the Supreme Court on the criminal offence of political office holders. Yingluck can appeal this civil-liability probing to the Administrative Court.

    A 2.73 trillion baht 2016 Fiscal Budget Act

    On 1stOctober 2016, the 2017 Fiscal Budget Bill is effective with an allocating expenditure of 2.73 trillion baht.

    Courts ruling to seize Somsaks premise

    On 29thSeptember, the Supreme Courts Criminal Section for Holders of Political Positions unanimously ruled to seize former Education Ministry Somsak Prisananantakuls premise on 5/5 Tambon Pai Cham Sil, Amphor Viset Chaichan in Ung Thong province due to he could not define the source of income for its construction. The 16 million baht house was built in 1998 and completed in 2001 during he was in office term and not listed in his asset as required by the anti-graft law.

    The National Anti-Corruption Commission resolved on 28the May 2015 Mr. Somsak had violated the law by concealing this premise and the petition was submitted by the Attorney-General.

    Revise draft Constitution incompatible to referendum result

    The Constitutional Court ruled the revised draft Constitution, on Section 272, submitted by the Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) is incompatible to the 7thAugust referendum results and should be rewrite as follow:
    1. At least one-half of the Parliament members; the House and the Senate, are to submit a motion to the President of the Parliament to call a meeting to pass a resolution exempting the nomination of the Prime Minister from the lists submitted by political parties under Section 88.
    2. The application of this exempting in regards to Section 272 is for only the first 5 years period after the tenure of the first Parliament.

    Measures to help agricultural households

    On 27thSeptember, the Cabinet resolved to approve the Finance Ministrys proposal to promote minor agricultural households living standard by:
    1. Providing a 3,000 or 1,500 baht cash deposit into accounts in the Bank of Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperative (BAAC). Eligible are agricultural households of annual income less than 30,000 and between 30,000 to 100,000 baht respectively. All accounts required official verification.
    2. BAAC to launching 3 sub-projects:
      1. Debt release for some specific cases.
      2. Debt restructure and hair-cut for normal accounts.
      3. Cash reimbursement for regular loan payment accounts.

    BMA tax collect over-target

    Bangkok Metropolitan Permanent Secretary disclosed on 23rd September the authority has collected a total of 71,105,714,065.30 baht tax which is 101.58 percent of the target 70,000 million baht. The amount was 15,200 million baht BMAs direct-tax and 54,800 million baht indirectly collected by central state agents.

    Thailand to launch Zero-Waste Operation

    On 20thSeptember, the Cabinet approved a Thailand Zero-Waste Plan proposed by the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry. The plan is to be implemented within the next 12 months starting from 2016 to 2017. The Interior Minister shall supervise the provincial offices and local authorities to fruitful operation according to planned.

    A law to regulate direct marketing

    On 20thSeptember, the Cabinet resolved to approve the Direct Marketing draft Bill with principles to oversee the Multi-Level or Network Marketing which differs from direct sale. Since the network marketing involves a lot of people and normally gives incentives to salespersons, it should be regulated by law. Minimum registered capital is set at 5 million baht and warranty is needed for goods sell. Violations subject to 20,000 baht fine daily.

    Direct sale is different and currently promoting by the government. Sellers are either individuals or minor enterprises such as SMEs or OTOPs selling directly or on line. No capital registration is needed but offensives are liable to a maximum of 1 year imprisonment or 100,000 baht fine or a total of 10,000 baht fine for the whole period of violation.

    Cabinet approved new City Planning Bill

    On 20thSeptember, the Cabinet approved a new City Planning draft Bill with principles to classify Policy Planning (National, Regional and Provincial Plans) and Implementation Planning ( Comprehensive and Specific Plans). There will be 4 supervision committees in 4 levels; a national policy planning committee, a national planning committee, provincial planning committees and local administration planning committees. The national planning committee will be chaired by the Interior Ministrys Permanent Secretary and the Director General of Department of Public Works and Town & Country Planning as committee and secretary. The Department duty is to provide planning standards and approve provincial and comprehensive plans. The provincial planning committees will be chaired by provincial governors and duty is to provide criteria and conditions for appealing to the appeal committee, chaired by the Interior Minister.

    All plans have no planning period but are subject to evaluation every five years.

    Sukhumpol impeached and banned

    On 16thSeptember, the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) voted 159 to 27 and 1 abstained to impeach Admiral Sukhumpol Suwanthat, when he was the Defense Minister, on his violating of power in interfered in the promotion of generals by the Office of the Defense Ministry. His action is a breach to Section 268 of the 2007 Constitution and Sections 268 and 266(1) (2) and Article 15 of the Office of the Prime Minister Regulations on Political Official Etiquettes.

    He will be banned from taking political position for 5 years.

    Courts to trial in absent of offenders

    On 13rd September, the Cabinet resolved to approve the draft amendment of the Criminal Act with principles to:
    1. Providing state prosecutors for offenders unable to have private lawyer in courts.
    2. Allowing the courts to conduct trials in absent of the offenders regardless to they are unable to attend court or fled. Previously the prosecution adjourns.

    The Cabinet also approved a draft amendment bill on criminal offence of juristic persons with principle to revise the responsible person to an individual, not an administrative committee, unless there are proves that the committee knows or supports the wrongdoing.

    7% VAT to continue 1 year

    On 13rd September, the Cabinet resolved to approve the Royal Decree on an extension of 7% VAT (including local tax) for another year or until 30thSeptember 2017.

    It is estimated that the resolution will bring a total loss of 256 billion baht of revenue in the next 12 months.

    New security crimes return to criminal courts

    The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) issued a 55/2559 order with principle to return prosecutions of security offence and less majesty to the criminal court. Security offences are possessing of armaments and explosive that could cause fatal injuries. These cases were ordered by NCPO after the coup to be trialed in the military court. However, cases conducting before 12 September shall be continued and ruled by the military court similarly to criminal offence in the 3 southernmost provinces which are under the martial Law.

    Education Loan Fund revised for efficiency

    On 9thSeptember, the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) voted to pass the Education Loan Fund amendment Bill with 141 to 1 and 4 abstained on the first reading and appointed a 15 members committee to scrutinize the Bill.

    Principles are to set up an education loan fund committee and sub-committee with office to follow up, check and supervise loans and repayment in compliance to regulations set. The Director-General of the Comptroller Generals Department will chair the sub-committee.

    NACC cleared Ratchapat Park accusation

    On 6thSeptember,the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) ruled with 9 to 0 votes that the construction of Ratchapat Park in Amphor Hua Hin Prachuab Kirikhan Province was in line with the regulations. The NACC has conducted oral and documents investigation and found no irregularities.

    The petition was submitted by Mr. Weera Somkwamkit asking the Commission to investigate General Udomdej Sihabutr deputy Defense Minister when he was responsible as the military chief and General Sirichai Dithakul Labor Minister when he was the Permanent Secretary of the Defense Ministry. Mr. Weera accused the two responsible officials of negligent to supervise the project properly.

    A feasibility study for Rattanakosin underground network

    On 6thSeptember, the Cabinet revised the Cabinet resolution in 1994 on the ban of un-scenic construction in the Rattanakosin Area to allow a feasibility study of underground train in Thonburi-Klong San-Prachatipok districts. The line will connect with the main lines. No time frame was given for the conduct of feasibility study.

    Graduates top among unemployed

    The Statistics Bureau disclosed that as August 2106 there were a total of 360,000 unemployed which decreased 17,000 or 0.9 percent from the same month of 2015 and 31,000 less than September 2016. Among all, the graduates are the highest, 168,000, increased 11,000 from last year. Followed by the upper secondary or senior high schoolers, primary, lower secondary, none education and under primary respectively.

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